How to Study Automated Decisions and Algorithmic Injustice in Online Spaces


Algorithmic systems are increasingly perceived as being influential in decision-making in a range of areas, from online search engines and social media environments, to determining healthcare, finance, or government policy. This guide will examine why algorithms are important objects and systems of research for social science researchers and provide an overview of methods for their study. Drawing from a range of interdisciplinary scholarship on algorithmic systems and human values, this guide will present a number of analytical frameworks through which the socially consequential impact of algorithmic systems can be analysed. Furthermore, it will outline some emerging methods utilised by social science researchers to empirically examine algorithmic systems, including reverse engineering, algorithm auditing, and ethnographic tactics for engaging with algorithmic systems.

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